MASTERS OF EVIL

Membership: Absorbing Man, Blackout, Bulldozer, Fixer, Goliath, Grey Gargoyle, Mr. Hyde, Moonstone, Piledriver, Screaming Mimi, Thunderball, Tiger Shark, Titania, Whirlwind, Wrecker, Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara), Helmut Zemo

Purpose: To obtain vengeance upon Captain America and the Avengers on the behalf of Helmut Zemo

Affiliations: Black Mamba, Mongoose

Enemies: Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Avengers (Black Knight, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hercules, Thor, Wasp), Dr. Druid, Edwin Jarvis, Paladin, Spider-Man

Base of Operations: A base in an unrevealed location

First Appearance: Avengers I#270 (August, 1986)

History: (Avengers I#270) - When Moonstone was arrested after a battle with the Avengers, the Absorbing Man and Titania, disguised as police officers, took her into custody. When they had loaded her into a police van, they revealed their true identities and offered her a place in the Masters of Evil.

(Avengers I#271) - Screaming Mimi and the Grey Gargoyle were sent to break out Yellowjacket from prison so that she could join the Masters of Evil, but found the Wasp, Paladin and the Black Knight interrogating her. Although Yellowjacket was able to escape, the Grey Gargoyle and Screaming Mimi were captured for their efforts, although the Avengers did not learn they were working for the Masters of Evil.

(Marvel Age Annual#2) - As Zemo prepared for his assault on the Avengers, he met with the Fixer to monitor the activities of the various Avengers. They spied in on the Avengers Compound, and the Fixer brought in reports on the activities of Hercules, Captain Marvel, the Wasp and the Black Knight. Zemo was encouraged to learn of the various stresses his enemies were suffering from, and believed that at any moment, the time to strike would arrive. He had the Fixer check on the Fantastic Four as well, so that they would not be available to aid the Avengers.

(Captain America I#324) - Whirlwind was sent to delay Captain America, but was determined to do better than that, and actually defeat him. He went to the Tinkerer to receive new weapons, and met the Trapster there. He convinced the Trapster to aid him, and the two managed to ambush Captain America, only to be defeated.

(Avengers I#273 (fb) - BTS) - Needing someone who could defeat Captain Marvel for them, Zemo put Moonstone in charge of finding a solution. She had him send the Masters of Evil to breakout her ally Blackout from Project: PEGASUS.

(Avengers I#273) - The Wrecker went undercover to one of Hercules' favorite bars to gain intelligence on the Avengers. He learned that the Sub-Mariner was currently absent, and that Hercules disliked taking orders from the Wasp. He and Yellowjacket delivered their intelligence to Zemo. Zemo had Moonstone work on Blackout, and she demonstrated that Blackout was completely under her control. Concerned that she might make a bid against him, Zemo had Piledriver pick a fight with Mr. Hyde just so that he could surreptitiously drug Hyde into submission, making Moonstone wonder how he had achieved it. To solidify his standing, Zemo had the Fixer design a device in his headband which would enable him to control Blackout.

Zemo gathered the complete lineup of his Masters of Evil, and told them how their superior numbers would crush the Avengers. Moonstone challenged his authority, only to be assaulted by Blackout. Moonstone was forced to submit to Zemo's authority. They began their operation that evening, hiring Tanya Sealy (Black Mamba) to take Hercules out and get him drunk so that only Edwin Jarvis would be at Avengers Mansion that night. The Masters quickly fought their way past the mansion's defenses, and the Fixer jammed communications to keep Jarvis from warning anyone. They took Jarvis prisoner and set about repairing the damages they had made.

(Avengers I#274) - When the Black Knight wandered back into Avengers Mansion, Mr. Hyde and Yellowjacket were quickly set on him, and Hyde knocked him unconscious. Next they had the Fixer sent a message to Captain Marvel, using the Wasp's voice, and asking her to come to the mansion. As soon as she appeared, Zemo had Blackout send her to the Darkforce Dimension. The Fixer also sent the west coast Avengers team on a wild goose chase to Indonesia to keep them occupied.

Meanwhile, Captain America contacted the mansion to inform them of Whirlwind's capture, and was received by "the Wasp." When she didn't show any concern, Cap realized that something was wrong. He located the real Wasp at her estate, and they managed to intercept Hercules before he entered the mansion. They tried to warn Hercules of what the Masters had planned, but Hercules was thoroughly drunk, and again chaffed at the Wasp's orders. He shambled into the mansion and defeated Tiger Shark, then took on the entire Wrecking Crew and Mr. Hyde at once. However, Goliath then entered the fray and beat him unconscious, then turned him over to the others, who beat him into a coma. Captain America and the Wasp tried to raid the mansion, but Cap was captured by the mansion's defenses, controlled by the Fixer. Captain America was brought before Zemo, who kicked him in the jaw and gloated over their easy victory. Zemo had the entire mansion surrounded by Blackout's darkforce energy to protect them more attacks.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#283) - Titania and the Absorbing Man set off to LaGuardia airport to collect another member, the Mongoose, but they ran into Spider-Man, and missed meeting up with their ally. They ultimately drove Spider-Man away by threatening the lives of a plane full of passengers.

(Avengers I#275) - The Masters set about wrecking the mansion, while Zemo allowed Tiger Shark to depart, just to keep the public confused. Annoyed by Captain America's resolve as he tortured him by destroying his personal effects, Zemo sent the Absorbing Man and Titania to make sure Hercules was dead and to take care of the Wasp. They fought Ant-Man and the Wasp at the hospital, only to be defeated by the duo. The Wasp was now determined to see that the Masters of Evil were all defeated. Still unable to get a reaction from torturing Captain America, Zemo ordered Hyde to kill him, the Black Knight and Jarvis. Hyde started by removing Jarvis gag so that he could hear him scream, and began to pummel him.

(Avengers I#276) - Just as Hyde was finished with Jarvis, the Wasp's regrouped team of Avengers struck at the mansion, turning off the building's power. This released the Black Knight's sword from the force field the Fixer had been keeping it in, and he summoned it to him, setting himself and Cap free. They were joined by the Wasp, Ant-Man, Thor and Captain Marvel in battling Hyde, who was finally beaten when he swung right into Thor. Ant-Man went on to defeat the Fixer, and the Avengers confronted the Wrecking Crew, who had their powers transferred back into the Wrecker by Thor. In the meantime, Dr. Druid had come to the Avengers' aid, and used his telepathy to make Blackout drop his darkforce barrier, allowing him and a company of army rangers to enter the premises. Captain Marvel engaged Moonstone in a mid-air battle, and Moonstone panicked, fearing that Captain Marvel might kill her, and she crashed into a cliffside, breaking her neck. Dr. Druid attempted to help Blackout, but Zemo brought him down with a needler gun, then ordered Blackout to send the entire mansion into the Darkforce Dimension.

(Avengers I#277) - Thor fought Goliath, and obtained vengeance for Hercules by beating him, while Captain America defeated the Wrecker. Yellowjacket attempted to set off in Zemo's aircraft, but the mansion's structure had been weakened, and the ship crashed. She surrendered to Captain America. Dr. Druid enabled Blackout to resist Zemo's control, and he died trying to regain his will from Zemo. Zemo was finally left face-to-face with Captain America, and the two fought on top of the mansion. Zemo accused Captain America of ruining his family, but the Captain pointed to all the evil his father had committed, and revealed that Heinrich Zemo had accidentally caused his own death. Helmut was enraged and flung himself at Captain America; Cap knocked him aside with his shield, pushing him over the edge. Zemo refused Cap's hand and fell to the ground, breaking his neck. Blackout's body and the entire team of the Masters of Evil were taken into custody.

(West Coast Avengers II#16) - Tiger Shark and Whirlwind attempted a string of robberies on the west coast together, but were caught by Tigra and Hellcat in San Francisco.

(Solo Avengers#12/2) - The Fixer broke Yellowjacket out of prison and attempted once more to woo her, but she refused him again. When he attempted to obtain revenge upon the Avengers by attacking the Black Knight, Yellowjacket aided the Black Knight in defeating him.

(Avengers Annual#17) - Yellowjacket was found spying upon the Avengers at Hydrobase, and claimed to be there on behalf of the Masters of Evil. However, she was apparently lying.

(Thunderbolts '97 Annual (fb)) - Helmut began to reorganize the Masters of Evil, recruiting the Fixer, Beetle, Screaming Mimi and Goliath, but after learning that the Avengers had seemingly perished battling Onslaught, instead decided to form the Thunderbolts, an undercover team which would claim to be heroes in order to gain the public's trust.

Comments: Created by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer.

The mystery member of the Masters of Evil in Amazing Spider-Man I#283 was almost certainly supposed to be the Dreadknight, who was from Europe, was a good match-up for the Black Knight, and had been named as a member of the Masters of Evil in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #4. However, Tom DeFalco decided to make it his newly-created villain the Mongoose instead. He was also intending to set up the Mongoose as a Spider-Man villain, but wound up establishing him in Thor after his abrupt departure from the Spider-Man titles.

Whirlwind and Captain America are seen fighting each other in Marvel Age Annual#2 in a scene that doesn't fit with the rest of "Mansion Siege" continuity (Whirlwind is in his original costume), but otherwise, nothing prevents Marvel Age Annual#2's story from being in-continuity.

by Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
Helmut Zemo's Masters of Evil should not be confused with:


Images taken from:
Avengers I#273, page 16, panel 3


Avengers I#271 (September, 1986) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Marvel Age Annual#2 (1986)
Captain America I#324 (December, 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Don Daley (editor)
Avengers I#273-277 (November, 1986-April, 1987) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#283 (December, 1986) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Ron Frenz (pencils), Bob Layton (inks), Jim Owsley (editor)
West Coast Avengers II#16 (January, 1987) - Steve Englehart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Solo Avengers#12 (November, 1988) - Howard Mackie (writer), Amanda Conner (pencils), Stan Drake & Dick Hodgins (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Avengers Annual#17 (1988) - Walt Simonson (writer), Mark Bright (pencils), Mike & Valerie Gustovich (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thunderbolts '97 Annual (1997) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Tom Brevoort (editor)
 Story 1: Mark Bagley (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks)
 Story 2: Bob McLeod (pencils), Will Blyberg (inks)
 Story 3: Tom Grummett & Bob McLeod (pencils), Scott Koblish & Will Blyberg (inks)
 Story 4: Ron Randall (pencils), Jim Sanders (inks)
 Story 5: Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks)
 Story 6: Darick Robertson (pencils), Bruce Patterson (inks)
 Story 7: George Perez & Bob McLeod (pencils), Karl Kesel & Will Blyberg (inks)
 Story 8: Chris Marrinan, Bob McLeod & Mark Bagley (pencils), Andrew Pepoy, Will Blyberg & Al Milgrom (inks)

Last updated: 12/06/04

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